Saturday, October 27, 2012

Saints and Sinners

It's almost November, but never too late?


Back a couple years, reading a book by Father Benedict Groeschel, I encountered his unqualified enthusiasm for Blessed Angela of Foligno and his judgment concerning the nature of her contribution to Church Reform. Such seeds planted, they eventually bear fruit, in me at least, in a curiosity which grows and knows no particular rest. Hence, nearly two years back I added a collection of her mystical writings entitled "Divine Consolation" to my Kindle library and began reading on and off. I am grateful for the direct exposure to the writings of this great woman, also because she is as unflinching as anyone I have ever read in her embrace of the Cross of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

What I really like about Angela is that she seems less gushy or amorous than other mystics I have attempted to grasp, even if the chapter of her writings on visions remains for the most part inaccessible to my sympathies. The first chapters or books, as they are called, before the visions, however, are mighty and a real challenge to all of us who, alas falling short of evidencing heroic virtue, are not quite ready to be declared blessed, let alone saints for universal emulation. I am still working through the book of her consolations but with November already near and, with it, our duty to pray for the Poor Souls in Purgatory during that month, I wanted to quote her.

Lots of folks today give the impression of indifference when it comes to the topic of heaven and hell as it applies both to those who precede them in death and to them personally. Our world seems neither to seek God nor to fear Him. An indication of this, sadly, is that people are not troubled enough to pray for the dead, that is to be concerned in terms of the eternal salvation of others and for that matter of themselves, especially in terms of confession of sin, sincere repentance and firm purpose of amendment. The overall decline in Mass offerings for the repose of the souls of loved ones is a concrete indication of what might be classed ignorance of duty, but no doubt stemming from tepidity.

Over 700 years separate us in time from Blessed Angela of Foligno, but not only is her focus on the Passion and Death of Jesus timeless, but once we get over the shock of her radical approach, I think we find ourselves looking at a woman who could just as well have been born in our time. If you read her with an open mind, she will draw you beyond the a priori exclusions typical of our day which keep us from trembling before the Eternal Judge or seeking before all others the Face of the Beloved Bridegroom. So far, the following passage expresses for me the quintessence of what is to be gleaned in terms of consolation from our faith, if properly grounded. We must remember that the road to perdition is wide and many follow it; the path to life and light is less traveled; it is the way of the Cross.

"Upon the fourth day of the great week I was meditating with grief upon the death of the Son of God, striving to empty my mind of all other things in order that my soul might be the more absorbed in this Passion and Death. Being, therefore, wholly occupied with the endeavor and desire to cast out every other matter from my mind in order that I might the more speedily and completely think only on this, I heard the divine voice saying within my soul, “My love for you was no deceit.” This word was as shocks of mortal pain to my soul, for the eyes of my mind were instantly opened, and I saw that what He said was very true. I saw the working and effect of that delight; I saw all that the Son of God had done for the sake of this love, and I saw what Christ Crucified had borne in life and in death for the sake of this deep and unspeakable love. This is the reason why I understood that it was indeed true that His love for me had been no deceit or jest, but love most perfect and profound. Then I perceived just the opposite in myself, that is to say, I knew that I loved Him deceitfully and not truly. For this reason I suffered such mortal pain and intolerable grief that I thought I was about to die." [Divine Consolation (Great Christian Mystical Writings), Bl. Angelina of Foligno, English translation: Bro. Smith SGS – Kindle Highlight Loc. 2725-33.]

Many things might separate me from the love of Christ, but essentially Angela says it rightly when she experiences "mortal pain and intolerable grief" over recognizing that she had loved her Lord "deceitfully and not truly". You might say that our world, either you or I, tend to "flat-line it", no heartbeat, if you will, non-responsive as we are to the wondrous Savior Who gave His life for us upon the Cross.

I wish everyone were moved by the "Dies Irae", moved personally to sincere and profound repentance, moved to beg the Lord to spare us and all our family and friends from the fires of hell, and through His abundant mercy to hasten the purification and take unto Himself the souls of the departed in Purgatory. Bl. Angela of Foligno may help you comprehend the love of Christ Crucified for you and for me, "love most perfect and profound"; she may, please God, open our eyes to the knowledge that we have "loved Him deceitfully and not truly"; she may ask God for a share in which she suffered, namely "such mortal pain and intolerable grief"... cause really of her consolation and unshakable joy.


PROPERANTES ADVENTUM DIEI DEI


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Orientation: A Linear Plea


Vidimus stellam ejus in Oriente 
et venimus cum muneribus adorare Dominum.

At the risk of being accused of jumping the gun not only on Christmas but on Epiphany as well, I just had to post this video and my thoughts thereby channeled or provoked (spawned?).

Not all that long ago I was visiting with a European who knows his way around Rome and who for reasons I cannot really recall all of a sudden just "dumped out his sack" of frustration concerning what the (by his definition) "simple once-in-a-lifetime pilgrim" experiences when he or she assists at a Papal Mass in St. Peter's Square. The phrase which stuck with me was "... and they never even get to see the Pope's face!" At the time, I thought it best to let this tempest just pass. I couldn't really even grasp why I had been chosen for this outpouring of solicitude for the satisfaction or edification of Joe and Martha Pilgrim in to Rome for the week.

At some months of distance from this blast and having watched not few videos of Papal Liturgies in St. Peter's Square in the month of October, I've drawn a couple of conclusions for myself. 

1. Very few of us can pretend to go to Rome and be guaranteed a close-up of the Holy Father, let alone a personal exchange with him; that is the blessing of the visual media and simple mathematics. We can get a close-up of the Holy Father most any day at home on EWTN. As far as the liturgy goes, the question might rather be whether there aren't too many close-ups. I can remember during the pontificate of Blessed John Paul II when people heatedly debated whether the camera wasn't too indiscreet and prying.

2. "Intimacy" is not the first word which comes to mind when one thinks of Papal Liturgy whether on the Square or inside the Basilica. Rather, the word "monumental" comes to mind. In a sense, if all the people around you cooperate and are themselves quiet and recollected, it can be an optimal ambience for assisting at the Holy Sacrifice.

I could draw more conclusions, but I will stay with these couple and then simply state that Enlightenment or no Enlightenment if the Liturgy is first and foremost God's work, then I think we could better express that by making it all more linear. Maybe the Square is not the place for celebrating the Eucharist. Maybe there is no such thing as "good seating" at Mass. Maybe the action itself is more important than the mortal celebrant of Christ's action.

The only "definitely not maybe" in all of this for me over the last few years has become the priority for recovering the orientation of the Eucharistic Prayer or Canon. Once we've completed the Liturgy of the Word, there is no better way to celebrate the Eucharist, Christ's action than when we all turn toward Him. If the church building itself is oriented, then, toward geographic east and if not then toward the image of the Crucified One at "liturgical east". Vidimus stellam ejus in Oriente et venimus cum muneribus adorare Dominum. In most parish churches, smaller houses of worship and chapels, the Tabernacle becomes part of that focus. "Gathering around", if you will, cannot be other than less than optimal.

The new English translation of the Roman Missal has bound us more closely again to the Scriptural roots of our liturgical formulations. The ongoing recovery of a true sense of the sacred in all that we sing and hear sung in church is key as well. Taking the hectic out of the Communion procession by returning to the rail is a hoped for blessing and when and where possible, we need, celebrant and community, to recover our focus on Christ through worshipping ad Orientem.



PROPERANTES ADVENTUM DIEI DEI





Sunday, October 21, 2012

Blowin' in the Wind

My head these days seems filled with scattered, maybe idle, thoughts about church life and vitality, and about priestly vocations. While most of this distraction stems from my shared reflections with bishops and priests here in Ukraine, some of it is also provoked by posts from my friends at RORATE CAELI, viz. recent posts on faith life and practice statistics from France today, on the parish cluster project due for implementation in a failing Catholic Austria, and now Gloria.TV's new HD fundraising video for the bigger and better SSPX seminary they hope to build in West Virginia.

The fundraising video hit me hard for a number of reasons: 

1. Although lip service is paid to Catholicism in its traditional form, the movement traced by the video is unequivocally "Los von Rom"... I'm sorry. 

2. If you need space, because you are so successful, you open an additional seminary; you only go "mega" if you're short on teaching and formation faculty. Bigger doesn't always mean better; sometimes it's tainted with desperation or short-sighted calculation. It's like some years ago in NW Arkansas where instead of opening new parishes in an affluent and growing area of the state, they tore down old churches and built bigger (the excuse was the shortage of priests and the need to forge bonds between the Anglo originals and the massive influx of Hispanics). 

3. And then there are my memories of Winona (1968-72), my college years at St. Mary's! I remember visiting St. Thomas Aquinas back then; the former Dominican scholasticate had already been abandoned by some years; it seemed to be a church ruin in the making with no prospects of either a buyer or a savior. On campus at that time was also the abandoned novitiate of the Christian Brothers de la Salle in Yon Valley; some lay students were already beginning to move into what became a dorm, I think. I saw the last of the Sacred Hearts coming to Winona from as far away as New England or Hawaii to attend class with us for their pre-theology; by the time I headed on to theology, that house too was a campus dorm.

Will St. Thomas Aquinas have another buyer or savior before the buildings have stood a hundred years? I saw the place in the winter time and in the dark, not nearly as cheery as the images chosen for the video. Building bigger in West Virginia may not be an act of defiance, but it certainly does put the rest of us (losers?) in our place. As I say, I'm very sorry to see the fraternity turn its back on the Church. The bravado with which the video is shot through should not be mistaken for an esprit du corps

The Dominicans who abandoned Winona long before the publication of the so-called Missal of Paul VI have known terrible excesses over the years, but they seem to be making a healthy comeback elsewhere  in England, Ireland and the United States. I don't know how the CB's and the Sacred Hearts are doing, but nothing precludes their making a comeback within the Church some day either. Quo vadis, SSPX?

I don't know of anywhere in the world, with the exception of Poland today and the Archdiocese of Boston in the 1940's, which has know an excess of secular clergy. The big vocation booms in the Church since the Catholic Reform of the 16th Century have been missionary in nature, they have been frequent and bounteous. If I could beg the Lord for a particular fruit from the present World Synod on the New Evangelization, it would be for the spark needed to unleash such vocations for the sake of restoring the Sacrament of Penance to our people and assuring the devout celebration of the Eucharist. If I could hope for something from the Year of Faith, it would be that families would open the door to Jesus Who knocks and waits for an invitation to come and dwell in our homes.

As I say, I'm sorry, but bravado just doesn't get the job handled. You can criticize the failures of Church leadership on most fronts in the whole second half of the 20th Century and up until today, but your saying it won't convince me you're any better than the countless men and women of the period, who neither abandoned their posts nor donned pantsuits and earrings. The tragedy could have been worse and the recovery farther off. 

Silence, darkness and the cold of winter may once again envelope St. Thomas Aquinas, but the Lord does not leave His flock untended.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Better Part Through Self-Abandonment


On this 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, we are reminded that to attain faith, the pearl of great price, life in company with Christ, we should surrender all. Far from an act of folly, such abandonment is wisdom, is understanding, is all good. Hence the beautiful 1st Reading from Wisdom 7:7-11, which illuminates the sense of Jesus’ invitation in the Gospel to the wealthy young man to leave all behind for the benefit of the poor and follow Christ unreservedly:

“I prayed, and understanding was given me; I entreated, and the spirit of Wisdom came to me. I esteemed her more than scepters and thrones; compared with her, I held riches as nothing. I reckoned no priceless stone to be her peer, for compared with her, all gold is a pinch of sand, and beside her silver ranks as mud. I loved her more than health or beauty, preferred her to the light, since her radiance never sleeps. In her company all good things came to me, at her hands riches not to be numbered.”

Too often we think of this leaving all behind to follow Christ unreservedly as the singular characteristic of a vocation to priesthood or the consecrated life, which indeed it is, though not exclusively. Actually, accepting fully the implications of the grace and calling we received in Baptism and which was then fortified in the Sacrament of Confirmation, the universal call to holiness, is closer to the point of the Gospel. Jesus' call is an invitation to communion of life with Him; ministry is something else. I would hope that preachers this Sunday would leave no one off the hook, but let Jesus speak to each and every one of the baptized, that all may recognize that Christ speaks as surely to them as He did to the rich young man.

Parents indeed know this, as their mutual surrender in matrimony leads if they are so blessed by God to the further shared and life-giving sacrifices of child-rearing  Personally, I see more of this abandonment  and the subsequent attainment of wisdom in the life of a saintly married couple than I do in that of the life of many a priest. If there is a shortage of vocations to priesthood and the consecrated life today it is also because Wisdom has not found a home in enough families. 

We pray that this Year of Faith might be a life-line to many a family. The radiance of Wisdom within the home will do the rest.

PROPERANTES ADVENTUM DIEI DEI



Striving to Move Beyond Pride and Shame

This morning’s Office of Readings proffers one of the all-time greats as challenge to all who would be zealous for the proclamation of the Gospel. While the whole passage is to my mind priceless, I’d like to focus on the central paragraphs of this great gift to us from Pope St. Gregory the Great:

“Beloved brothers, consider what has been said: "Pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest." Pray for us so that we may have the strength to work on your behalf, that our tongue may not grow weary of exhortation, and that after we have accepted the office of preaching, our silence may not condemn us before the just judge. For frequently the preacher’s tongue is bound fast on account of his own wickedness; while on the other hand it sometimes happens that because of the people’s sins, the word of preaching is withdrawn from those who preside over the assembly.

With reference to the wickedness of the preacher, the psalmist says: “But God asks the sinner: Why do you recite my commandments?” And with reference to the latter, the Lord tells Ezekiel: “I will make your tongue cleave to the roof of your mouth, so that you shall be dumb and unable to reprove them, for they are a rebellious house.” He clearly means this: the word of preaching will be taken away from you because as long as this people irritates me by their deeds, they are unworthy to hear the exhortation of truth. It is not easy to know for whose sinfulness the preacher’s word is withheld, but it is indisputable that the shepherd’s silence while often injurious to himself will always harm his flock.”

I don't think it is sufficient to say that it is because of our sins, those of the preacher and those of the people, that teaching is withheld, that certain folk turn their backs on the foundation stones of moral teaching. I think we have to identify that sin or those sins which translate into hardness of heart and the rejection of Christ's invitation to share life with Him in His Kingdom. More often than not, I think that at the origin of the shepherd's silence or the flock's deafness is some variation on the theme of the fall of our first parents, Adam and Eve. It is the tragedy of pride which falls and then shame-facedly tries to cover itself.

There's a very lively part of the Catholic world out there, which is very much electrified in the midst of pre-election debates in the US by the abortion issue and the nature of truth, and which finds itself pained to hold for truth and cast light on falsehood, as such. In facing this world and speaking to the often limp or disheartened defenses of the unborn child and the elderly infirm, I found consolation in the words of St. Paul from Ephesians 4:17-32:

"So I declare and testify in the Lord that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds; darkened in understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance, because of their hardness of heart, they have become callous and have handed themselves over to licentiousness for the practice of every kind of impurity to excess. That is not how you learned Christ, assuming that you have heard of him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus, that you should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God's way in righteousness and holiness of truth. Therefore, putting away falsehood, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun set on your anger, and do not leave room for the devil. The thief must no longer steal, but rather labor, doing honest work with his (own) hands, so that he may have something to share with one in need. No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the holy Spirit of God, with which you were sealed for the day of redemption. All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice. (And) be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ."

The relativism of our times is little more than pride's attempt to stifle its own shame and excuse its wrongdoing and failures. Relativism's seeming or so-claimed respect for the erring conscience of those who refuse moral or any other truth through ignorance (vincible or invincible) is in the end most hard-hearted. It is as if to say, "well, let him or her go their own way... let them hang themselves for all I care". People's acquiescence to a relativist stance and subsequent tolerance of the loss of others to goodness, truth and that beauty which reflects the divine image is more than cowardice or indifference and it is indeed as culpable in the lives of those who should know better as would be outright killing or letting die through some act of omission. I cannot help but think of the gripping descriptions by St. Therese of Lisieux and by the little children of Fatima of countless souls being carried off into the fires of Hell like fallen leaves caught up in the whirlwind... We cannot exempt ourselves from trying to save others from damnation, albeit seemingly by their own choice.

As I myself strive to live the fullness of truth about human life and our presence in a world created by God, I cannot reduce that truth to a position arbitrarily held. If my own sins and failings cover me with shame and to the extent that in more honest moments I recognize my misery, then I have to get up and move toward home, as did the Prodigal Son, swallowing my pride and shame, opening up to the Father's waiting embrace and seeking His forgiveness and favor.

Good teaching continually reminds us of the example of the family and friends who carried the man paralyzed by his own sins over all obstacles so as to present him to Jesus for forgiveness and healing, letting him down before the Lord through a hole they opened (by violence) in somebody else's roof. There is nothing respectful or honest in my allowing the other to just lie there in his or her sin and moral deprivation.

It is evident from Pope St. Gregory's words that he had no illusions about the necessary success of the repentant and sanctified preacher's words. We can't always shout our way successfully through another's deafness. When, however, I think of the number of babies' lives who have been saved through friendship extended to a young woman and a comforting hand held during an ultrasound test revealing the beauty of that little life already treading the path which will shortly lead to the light of day and all kinds of possibilities for exchanges face to face, I see the need for an ever greater outreach on the part of us who have put on Christ in baptism and realize the consequences of that grace: "That is not how you learned Christ, assuming that you have heard of him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus, that you should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God's way in righteousness and holiness of truth. Therefore, putting away falsehood, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, for we are members one of another."

May this Year of Faith not only bring new encounters with the Gospel and with Christ's Church, conquering ignorance and engaging in battle against personal sin, but may it be occasion to conquer fallen pride (there is no other kind) which has us immobile and covered with shame. From the grave the victorious Christ drew forth with Himself unto Resurrection our first parents. Pray that He extend a merciful hand to our fallen world of today and that we might dedicate ourselves as laborers in His harvest! 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Evangelization and the Year of Faith

I have no doubt that Andrea Tornielli's blog in Italian on the first sinodal discussions and comments on the topic of the new evangelization ( see SACRI PALAZZI) will be rehashed time and again in English. I just hope that the Synod itself can get beyond his read of what is being discussed. 

The "Pew Survey" people are out there with their bad news as well concerning the state of religion in America and how little the dwindling numbers of Catholics in the U.S. understand about the demands of being faithful to the Gospel and one with Christ, the Redeemer of Mankind. 

I really don't think that mainline Protestantism is in a free-fall. Even a 100 years ago on the Dakota prairie, not few farm families which called themselves Protestant, were not baptized and had never held a hymnbook in their hands. Who of my parents' generation would have considered themselves as "Nones" (the old expression: unchurched) and yet there were lots of them. Three of my uncles by marriage were unbaptized when they married my mother's older sisters. In my first years as a priest at home, I encountered many more such folk: thirty years ago they were legion. I really doubt if much has changed.

What has changed is the loss of shame about being a non-practicing Catholic. Years ago you didn't call yourself a fallen-away Catholic, if that is what you were. I doubt seriously if many real PRACTICING Catholics today favor either abortion or same-sex marriage... the word is "practicing". Years ago, if you didn't practice, well, then you weren't or you were fallen-away and the family still hoped to bring you back.

I hope that Tornielli and company study the Synod interventions and move beyond typical European caricatures of the Don Camillo vs. Pepino world of Church, which is fun until Pepino's kids don't get it anymore and refuse to go a round with the new priest in town. The problem is, and world-wide, that no one seems to realize that the fight is to reclaim home and hearth. The struggle is to gift children already from mother's womb with a sense of the presence of God, of the closeness of Jesus, a Baby in His and our Mother Mary's arms, a man like us in all things but sin, Who did not refuse Cross and Grave, for the sake of claiming for us a victory over sin and death.

As I say, I hope we can expect more from Synod reporting than Tornielli's microwave pizza claimed from the back of the fridge none too soon!

We live in hope!


Friday, October 5, 2012

Decorum, maybe?

The Holy Father's reflections on liturgical prayer at the last couple of Wednesday General Audiences have been most enjoyable. For the sake of creating a context for my comments, let me just quote the last paragraph from a week ago:

"Dear friends, we celebrate and live the liturgy well only if we remain in a prayerful attitude, and not if we want “to do something”, to make ourselves seen or to act, but if we direct our hearts to God and remain in a prayerful attitude, uniting ourselves with the Mystery of Christ and with his conversation as Son with the Father. God himself teaches us to pray, St Paul says (cf. Rom 8:26). He himself gave us the appropriate words with which to address him, words that we find in the Psalter, in the great orations of the sacred liturgy and in the Eucharistic celebration itself. Let us pray the Lord to be every day more aware of the fact that the liturgy is an action of God and of man; prayer that wells up from the Holy Spirit and from us, wholly directed to the Father, in union with the Son of God made man (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2564). Many thanks."

Complex world that we live in and people we are, I should not be surprised or shocked to have picked up from "comboxes" that the Pope's words appear to have set the teeth of one or another on edge, maybe because he reaffirms the teaching of Vatican II in the course of his reflections and quotes the documents of that Council whose golden anniversary of convocation falls in these days. Granted, I suspect a goodly part of this bitterness or even cynicism is spawned by the liturgical abuse which has often characterized Catholic liturgy over more that four of these five decades. I find myself asking once again: What is to be done? Can we not turn things around? Should God not have the upper hand in what is truly His action? 

Friends who have read me with any regularity over the last years both here and previously on ISLAND ENVOY and particularly there on my page "Liturgy and Reform" will know that I am firmly convinced that much can be done to not only eliminate abuse but also to sacralize the experience of OF liturgy simply by strictly adhering to the rubrics in the Roman Missal (to quote Fr. Z. - "Say the Black and Do the Red"). Whenever and wherever possible I recommend opting for celebrating the OF ad Orientem. Beyond that the choice of truly sacred music must also be or become the norm. Taking the hectic out of the Communion procession by returning to the rail would also go a long way to breaking bad habits and restoring a sense of the sacred to all we do in Divine Worship. True worship is not showmanship; it is indeed something out of the ordinary and every day in the sense that it is or must be sublime even in its simplest of forms.

Some would claim that nothing short of a full restoration of the liturgical tradition can put us back on the straight and narrow by healing the obvious rupture with the Mass of All Times, with our heritage, which seemingly, at least often enough in practice or in application, would need to be conceded as that which sadly and not infrequently the OF represents even yet today. Behold this stolen quote from an interview given by Archbishop Mueller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to the National Catholic Register:

"NCREG: Could they (SSPX) perhaps help correct some of the abuses?

Müller: That is not their task, but ours. One extreme cannot be the equivalent of the other. The extremes must be corrected by the center."

In other words, a society or a brotherhood (we think of the role played by the mendicant orders and later by the Jesuits and the Theatines in restoring or rebuilding the Church) needs a mandate, needs recognition by the highest instances of Church authority to play a role. If and when such a mandate to spearhead Church reform were ever given, the clincher in the argument in favor was usually a saintly founder or leader, with any number of other truly saintly and excitingly so around him.New orders have done so in the past by flanking a charismatic leader like St. Francis, St. Dominic or St. Ignatius of Loyola, with evidence of "first" and "second generation sanctity" all around. Francis had great and reforming saints in his train, so did Dominic, so did Ignatius. It was not the blueprint but the fruits of a life lived as witnessed in other lives which carried the day.

What about the vernacular? A younger priest friend of mine some years ago expressed despair over the possibility of the language of the people being capable of setting the right tone for true worship. I don't know what he thinks now that the new English edition of the Roman Missal has come out. In any case, for a very long time people have yearned for some inclusion of the vernacular in the liturgy and I think for quite natural and not ignoble motives.

Of late, I have had some doubts about my own thesis concerning the sufficiency of following the rubrics as step toward restoring a sense of the sacred. Not that long ago I was reviewing a training video for the postures and gestures required for the celebration of a Low Mass in the EF. I remembered as a child the precision used to describe bows and the proper positioning of the head, body, hands and arms of the priest in the orans position, but I had forgotten things like feet together and approximate distance from the altar. All of these strictures, if you will, bring poise to the priest's every movement and stance, lending not only added but the necessary decorum to the rite. OF rubrics come nowhere near the precision and leave much to family upbringing and seminary training. How do you bring a priest to understand that there is a decorous and truly Latin way to partake of the chalice at Communion time? Tell me I am as bad as my dear departed aunt who used to poke us children between the shoulder blades at table and bark: "Sit up straight!"

When the Holy Father speaks about the mutual enrichment of the two forms of the one rite, I suggest that the EF could well gift the OF and exceedingly when it comes to decorum. Might I also suggest that this would not be a bad argument in favor of teaching the EF and to all in the seminary today?

PROPERANTES ADVENTUM DIEI DEI